You may think you know where to find sugar, and you’re probably right. Cookies, cakes, candy, and soda are high in sugar. What you may be overlooking are foods that seem healthy, yet they are loaded with the sweet stuff. Due to added and naturally occurring sugars, some foods are hidden sugar bombs.
Take a look at the top ten worst offenders:
- Ketchup contains added sugar to help counteract the acidity of tomatoes. Don’t go crazy with it and you should be fine.
- Spaghetti sauce can be loaded with sugar. Tomatoes naturally contain some sugar, but many brands add extra sugar. Try to find labels that list sugar at the end of the list of ingredients or not all. You can also make your own sauce to avoid added sugar.
- Sports drinks and Vitaminwater are meant to hydrate and are promoted as part of an active and healthy lifestyle. In reality, you need to work out to burn off the calories in these products. Drink plain water unless you are playing a long, hot sports game.
- Premade soup also contains sugar, especially if it is labeled as low-fat. A little sugar enhances flavor, but premade soups usually contain a lot to make up for the taste.
- Canned fruit not only contains the sugar naturally found in the fruit, but also additional sugar in the form of heavy or light syrup. Canned fruit has less fiber than real fruit because it has been peeled, and the fruit peel contains the bulk of the natural fiber. The canning process may also remove the vitamins, including vitamin C, which is naturally found in fruit.
- Canned baked beans are shockingly high in sugar. Instead, look for low-sugar versions of baked beans or make your own.
- Smoothies are filled with fruit and often augmented with yogurt, ice cream, or other ingredients to add consistency but are also loaded with sugar.
- Breakfast cereal and flavored instant oatmeal are high in sugar. Look for plain oatmeal and breakfast cereals that are low in sugar.
- Frozen entrees, especially low-fat entrees, often contain extra sugar to add flavor to make up for the lack of fat. These foods are often high in sodium, too.
- Soy milk may be an alternative to dairy, but the processing often adds sugar, especially for flavored versions like vanilla or chocolate.
More obvious sugar-filled foods include chocolate milk, flavored coffees, and nutrition bars, including granola, protein, and cereal.
To avoid hidden sugar from causing sucrose (sugar) Intolerance symptoms, be sure to read all food labels carefully. Read the ingredient list and if sugar falls into one of the top items listed, place it back on the shelf and find a healthier alternative. Remember, artificial sweeteners can cause dietary distress as well.